It's all systems go. The negative-ion air conditioner, negative-ion fan and negative-ion dehumidifier are all plugged in and humming away, dutifully belching out zillions of the negatively charged particles that, their manufacturers say, take on dust and neutralize pollutants around the house.

Outdoors, however, these clunky contraptions are useless against the lurking nemesis, positive ions, which despite the perky-sounding name are said by some scientists to cause sickness and depression in places where they greatly outnumber negative ions.

What to do? If keeping up with the latest health trends matters to you, then load up on jewelry made from tourmaline, the popular "miracle electric stone" said to increase concentration, reduce stress and even cure bad moods by emitting fields of negative ions.